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Everyone has seen the Sara McLaughlin videos encouraging audiences to donate to save the lives of malnourished and poorly treated animals.  These videos are phenomenal at tugging at the heart strings of animal lovers to generate donations.  In 2015, a PSA for Friends of Animals took a completely different approach to generating awareness for animals on social media—comedy.

In a 90 second PSA video, Danny Trejo, a well known movie star famous for roles in Breaking Bad and Machete, dresses up as a floppy-eared dog to showcase the importance of spaying and neutering pets by embodying the challenges a stray dog goes through.  At the end of the video, delivers the sobering message that this year, 3 million cats and dogs will die in shelters this year because they cannot find new homes.  With spaying and neutering, this number can be reduced.

This campaign was successful because it draws viewers in with the comedy and keeps them hooked with the lasting message at the end of the video.  Additionally, it leverages the popularity of Danny Trejo to further entice viewers to watch the video the whole way through.  The risk in waiting for the true message to be at the very end is that viewers may watch the funny part and move on or decide to note watch the film in entirety.

This campaign was very successful in generating hundreds of thousands of unpaid media impressions on Reddit, Fast Company and Adweek.  Since Friends of Animals did not sped a single dollar on paid media, the campaign was widely successful as it generated more than a million impressions on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.  Finally, the most important achievement was that spay and neuter vouchers were up 200% vs last year and Friends of Animals saw a significant increase in donations and website traffic following the release of the video.

Check out the clip below and let me know your thoughts!

Friends of Animals – #RuffLife with Danny Trejo